Monday, December 7, 2009

Eric's Kitchen in Jersey City: Mussels Risotto

This recipe came about while dining out in Jersey City a few months ago. My girlfriend and I were at LITM bar and restaurant where they had a special on Belgian mussels. $15 for all-you-can-eat mussels enticed us to go in. We also decided to order the mushroom risotto as an appetizer. When it all came out, the risotto had probably been sitting too long under the heat lamp and had congealed and dried out. We decided to take some of the extra broth from the mussels and revitalize the risotto which worked wonderfully. I decided that I needed to try this out at home and see what would happen when combining too things I love.

I started out by making the Belgian-style mussels with Duvell ale, shallots, mushrooms and fresh parsley. For those who have not tried this style of mussels, you clean the mussels, then saute the veggies in a pot until soft. Add your ale and mussels and steam them, covered, until they open up. I strained all the veggies and mussels from the broth and set them aside and kept them warm.

When making risotto, it helps to coat the rice with fat. In this case we used a thick-cut bacon, copped finely and then cooked until crispy in the bottom of the pot for the risotto. I added the risotto, then some of the broth from the mussels and cooked until most of the liquid had been absorbed. You repeatedly do this until the risotto is done cooking; about 20-25 minutes. You will most likely use all your broth and may have to add some chicken broth or other broth to finish off the risotto. You can also add in the veggies from the mussels about halfway through the risotto. Save the mussels until the very end to avoid over-cooking them.

In the end you should have a delicious dish that combines Belgian-style mussels and risotto, similar to a Paella.

~2Lb. Mussels
1 bunch of parsley
1 shallot
1 bottle of Duvell Belgian Ale (use 1-2 cups for the mussels)
1/2 lb bacon
1 container baby bella mushrooms
extra chicken stock or broth if needed.
1 cup of Arborio rice

One more link: The first (and still the best) place I had Belgian-style mussels is Monk's Cafe in Philly.


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